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After the long week at Dubai Airshow, it was time to go home. On our trip back from Dubai, we got the opportunity to use the Ahlan Business Class lounge. We were flying on Jet Airways from Dubai to Delhi and since both Ajay and I are Jet Platinum members we were invited to the Marhaba lounge, the Dubai airport lounge that the airline uses.
Our flight was running late by half an hour. We went to the Ahlan Business Class lounge in Concourse D instead of the Marhaba lounge, to be able to explore the variety that Dubai Airport has.
Terminal 1 at the Dubai International Airport is the terminal allocated to all international airlines, except Emirates that uses Terminal 3. We followed the signage for airline lounges and turned left once we reached the Marhaba lounge. The hallway had the Lufthansa lounge and another lounge that looked like an invite-only lounge. Ahlan also offers a First Class lounge which is up the alley.
At the end of the hallway is the Ahlan Business Class lounge on the left and opposite to it was the Skyteam lounge. Priority Pass gave us access to both these lounges, and for no particular reason, we walked to the Ahlan lounge. The Dubai International Hotel operates this lounge, and apart from being open to Priority Pass members and various bank’s cardmembers, this lounge is used by multiple airlines who do not have a dedicated lounge at DXB, such as Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, and Srilankan.
The entrance to the lounge is through a beautiful foyer that opens up at the reception. The ladies at the reception were warm and hospitable. After admitting us to the lounge, she gave us a coupon with the wi-fi login details.
Down the entrance foyer after the reception was a circular lounge. The open room had day chairs with footrests. In one corner, the room had space earmarked to hang jackets, stow luggage a single massage chair.
We walked down the corridor, and there was an enormous Flightradar24 screen giving live updates and tracking flights in real time. This lounge is one of the first places we have seen a live implementation of this, but I am sure if Ajay could have his way he would install something like this in our home.
FlightRadar24 was one of the snazziest things that I have seen in an airport lounge. While Ajay was busy tracking flights on the flightradar24 screen, I grabbed a magazine from the shelf near the monitor, and we headed to the dining area.
The dining area was spacious with a well-stocked bar. The hot buffet had chicken biryani, samosas, curries, and rice. The biryani was delicious. Apart from the hot meal, there was a variety of cold appetizers. It was lunch, and I was famished. While I picked up some crudites and made myself a salad bowl, Ajay munched on a cold sandwich.
On one counter there was an assortment of fruits, juices, followed by desserts and there was an iPad screen with eight types of coffee selection. The iPad was connected to the machine which would then spout out hot coffee according to your choice. Another smart device that I have not seen before. Dubai had not ceased to surprise me till this day on this trip.
I usually stay away from canned juices, so walked up to the bar to get myself a drink. As for Ajay, he tried some mango juice, which he said tasted nice and sweet.
The bar was stocked with Pimm’s, Campari, Malibu, Smirnoff Vodka, Bourbon, Bacardi Rum, and Gin. There was also a bottle of Gold Tequila, Jose Cuervo. Whiskey blends included Jameson, Grant and Famous Grouse. I was happy with a glass of Chardonnay.
An impressive wine cooler stood right at the entrance of the dining area, though I did not see anyone pulling out a bottle from the cooler.
The unusual thing is that there were Moet & Tattinger Champagne placed on top of a barrel in one hidden corner far away from the bar. Anyone would miss it easily, so I do not know if it was strategically placed there or that the lounge staff did not realize its inconspicuous location. Maybe it was just for the halo effect.
Just as I was looking at the live kitchen from the buffet area, a hostess walked up to me with a menu that we could order out of.
I ordered the chicken satay for myself and Ajay order himself a chicken burger. When our dishes arrived, they looked quite humble on the plate, but they were a winner in taste.
By late afternoon the lounge had gotten very busy. I could only spot the initial three hostesses trying to service about 50 guests. Many people were ordering the Laksa from the menu, and it looked appetizing. I would have loved to try it only if I had more appetite and was willing to let go the desserts. We tried an assortment of middle eastern sweet treats, and they were gratifying.
The food and the beverage spread at this lounge was excellent, and I would recommend keeping aside an hour for dining here if you want to try dining from the menu here. The table service was slow, probably because the lounge got extremely busy late afternoon and the number of staff was limited.
After finishing our lunch, I tried to catch up on some work. Alas, my internet did not connect. I asked for help, and even the lounge staff could not figure the problem. Ajay could connect his phone to the lounge wi-fi but kept complaining that it was very slow.
The lounge has multiple seating areas. There are lots of tables and chairs, an open lounging space, a private room with a television and rows of tables and chairs suitable for working.
There were three computers in a closed room where one could access emails and take printouts. There was even a separate playroom for children done up in vibrant colors.
We spent about an hour and a half though if the internet worked fine, we could have easily spent more time there. On our way to the gates, I quickly popped into the Marhaba lounge, and it was packed with people. In hindsight, it was a right call to skip the Marhaba lounge, which Ajay says has subpar food.
Ahlan Business Class lounge is one swanky Dubai airport lounge located in Terminal 1. The food spread is nice, and I prefer lounges that offer a-la-carte menus. While the service was slow, the staff were friendly and chatty. Ajay still can’t get over the giant FlightRadar 24 screen.
I am glad that we ditched the overcrowded Marhaba lounge and spent time in the Ahlan Business Class Lounge instead.
Have you visited the Ahlan Business lounge? Which is your favorite lounge in Dubai Terminal 1?